Modern Millie is a boon to those of us who love clothes, to those of us who don't know much about clothes and hate to shop (moi), and those who consider clothing to be the ultimate form of self expression.
Modern Millie, now four years old, is a consignment store on Washington Street in downtown Salem. Owner Christine Robidoux named the shop after the movie Thoroughly Modern Millie, in which the main character sets her sights on marrying for money and not love, apparently making her "modern". (Still sounds somewhat current). The movie is set in the 1920's and was made in the 1967. According to Christine, there were obvious fashion influences from the 60's overlaying the intended 1920's couture.
And that, says Christine, embodies her mission at the consignment store: to combine vintage clothing from the 1970's and earlier with trendy modern clothing. So the fashion possibilities and combinations range from being able to buy hip clothing at a reasonable price to being able to explore fashion as an art at a reasonable price. And the great thing about Modern Millie is that you don't have to go it alone: the women that work here know their stuff. Christine has a self-designed degree from UMass in costume history and design, and any of the staff will give their opinion and help you to find just the right thing to wear- what suits your style, your body, your eye color. This is the personalized service that brings customers, including me, back again and again.
The clothes change daily, so you can too. Modern Millie has 800 consignors from which Christine carefully chooses what to carry. She also has many loyal customers, and this base got a big boost last year with her fashion show, The Clothes On Their Backs, a benefit held at the Hawthorne Hotel. The show had a unique flair as it was choreographed into scenes in which the models were actors as well, miming skits to music. The skits were funny, moving, sassy, and poignant on top of showing off Christine's skill as a fashion coordinator. The show was a fantastic success, and raised $20,000 for the Salem Mission homeless shelter. Christine produced the show without making a dime- the months of rehearsals and organization were a labor of love. Christine's following deservedly jumped after the wild success of the show, and she was nominated as "Businesswoman of the Year" for the Salem Chamber of Commerce last year.